My dad LOVES Tom Yum; the real one, with shrimps swimming inside, therefore he was puzzled when I told him I am going to make a vegan version. “Tell me”, he said, “how can one make shrimpless Tom Yum?”.
I knew he was joking and I am sure that if he was around to taste my version of this wonderful soup he’d agree that shrimps aren’t necessary at all!
Tom Yum is a rich soup, full with flavors but still pretty simple to make. The only serious work is to get some of the ingredients; you will probably have to visit the Asian supermarket near you but it’s worth it, I promise!
Ingredients for a big pot of Tom Yum (3-4 big servings):
The Must Haves:
- 2 stalks lemongrass – sliced
- Half a red chili – mine was a not so spicy one – spiciness control is important! Adjust to your own preferences!
- One small piece of galangal – or ginger in case you can’t find galangal – minced
- 2-3 garlic cloves – minced
- 3-4 kaffir lime leaves – I used dry ones
- 2 spoons of chili paste – red and spicy! [or Tom Yum paste]
- Juice from 1 lime
- A dash of salt
The Up To Yous
- Mushrooms – the mushroomphile in me went wild and got Enoki, Shimeji and King Oyster (<3)
- Medium zucchini – sliced into thick stripes
- 3-4 cherry tomatoes – sliced
- 2-3 scallions – sliced – leave some for garnish
- A small package of rice noodles – I had some vermicelli around so why not?
- Half a jar of bamboo shoots – had this in the fridge as well
- Cilantro – a few leaves for garnish once serving
I also planned on adding tofu cubes but the pot was full after I added the mushrooms; it was not needed at all but can be a nice addition if you are low on mushrooms.
- Fry the minced garlic, minced galangal and sliced chili in a bit of coconut oil (or any other oil actually) – stir well
- After 1 minute add water – I just filled the pot 2/3 of water, I have no idea about quantities
- Add the sliced lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and bring to boil
- After 5 minutes of boiling, carefully, fish out the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves – they are not very pleasant to chew on!
- Lower the heat
- Add 2 spoons of chili paste – or three, depends how spicy you like it
- Add a bit of salt
- Add the veggies – I started with the zucchini and tomatoes
- Squeeze half a lime into the water – leave the other half for later
- Add the mushrooms and the bamboo shoots – the idea is not to overcook the mushrooms so they can be added last
- Add the vermicelli
- Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes
- Fix the taste – is something missing? Add more chili paste, salt or lime juice if needed
- Stir well
- Serve hot, with fresh cilantro and a sliced scallion